Articles » Intermediate
Darwin’s Tree of Life – mere culture and convenience
There is no doubt that we are drawn to organization that involves hierarchy. Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) famously devised a scheme for plant classification according to their reproductive characteristics. He established the idea of grouping organisms into a hierarchy of progressively shared traits. In his Systema naturae (1735) Linnaeus decreed that this logical organization of living things should involve increasingly larger categories. Thus, all similar individuals would be members of a species, similar species could be lumped into a genus. Similar genera were clumped into a family, similar families into an order, similar orders into a class, similar classes into a phylum or division. These groups were supposed to be exclusive. An organism was supposed to be a member of only one group. In Linnaeus’ view, this logical arrangement of organisms reflected God’s character and wisdom.
But all that changed with Darwin. Read the rest of this entry »
Viruses: In the News a Lot
There is no doubt that we are all tired of hearing about viruses! However, they actually do demonstrate some interesting features when we look at them more closely. These submicroscopic particles can reproduce themselves only inside a living cell. All life forms are susceptible to attack by at least one kind of virus. Basically, a virus consists of a protective protein coat with genetic information (RNA or DNA) enclosed inside. In that viruses commandeer the life processes of a cell which they have invaded, they tend not to need a lot of genetic information. Mainly their information deals with how to synthesize the protein coat and any associated molecular machines for packaging the genetic material into the protein capsid (coat). Read the rest of this entry »
For many years, evolutionists have claimed that the bulk of the human genome is junk, debris left over from long periods of evolution. These people should rather have asked what was the function of these long stretches of non-coding DNA (about 97%). Recent research such as the Human Genome Project (HGP) has vindicated those who rejected the junk DNA idea and the insights keep on coming! Read the rest of this entry »
Biological Clocks: The Never-Ending Story
I remember hearing a biologist from Bristol in England. He was talking about his studies on diatoms (algae with glass walls). He described how he set out to study the activities of these cells on the nearby seashore. To collect the diatoms, he said, he used English toilet paper which was scratchy and impervious to water. The English students laughed uproariously at this. The Canadians, sitting straight-faced, did not realize this was a joke! At any rate what he found was that the algae emerged from below the sand surface during low tide in the day, but they then moved back under the sand before the tides returned at a different time every day. This is the kind of timekeeping ability in organisms that biologists were beginning to study. There were studies on people living alone in dark caves, studies on algae that glow in the dark, and fruit flies that emerge from the pupa at a certain time of day. How do they keep track of time? Read the rest of this entry »
Check-Up Time: The Importance of Critical Thinking
I remember suggesting to one of my professors, when I was at university, that a certain course would be a waste of my time since I had already studied that topic. He suggested that there might be more to learn and he was right, of course. In fact, there is always more to learn on any topic. That is why we hear so much about life-long learning. We don’t want to atrophy (dry up) mentally or physically. It is important to keep developing our skills.
Naturally in everything we learn, we have to be cautious. We don’t want to plant desert-loving plants in a wet area of the garden, or do stretches the wrong way, nor do we want to acquiesce to wrong interpretations in science, or history or philosophy or whatever. This does not mean we stop reading! What it means is that we apply critical thinking skills to our various pursuits. Read the rest of this entry »
How COVID Created Opportunities!
The media are full of accounts of how people have used their unexpected “down time” at home during the COVID pandemic. What we chose, be it bread baking or house-cleaning or crafts or whatever, obviously reflected personal preference. As far as I was concerned, this time was a golden opportunity to do some extra scientific reading. It all began with an article in Nature that promoted an ancestral relationship for red seaweeds with an organism that was the exact opposite of all the features in red seaweeds. Perhaps I lack imagination but I could not believe that this prestigious journal had indeed published such an argument. It seemed hilarious to me. Read the rest of this entry »
Something Special About Bumblebees
An interesting article appeared recently in the journal Science that suggested that bumble bees have solved a problem that plant physiologists have been working on for one hundred years! It was in 1920 that plant physiologists Wightman W. Garner (1875-1956) and Harry A. Allard (1880-1963), while working with tobacco and flowering cosmos, discovered that the correct length of day is essential for the onset of flowering in these plants. They named the phenomenon “photoperiodism,” and it is an extremely important control on the beginning of the flowering process in many plants. Read the rest of this entry »
Up to Date Foundations
One of the pleasures of staffing a book table are the conversations that happen with people looking at the resources. On many occasions, individuals have requested an introduction to creation. Before responding, I have often inquired what the person’s interests are. If the person is interested in physics and mathematics, or in apologetics, there might be little point in showing them a work on fossils, for example. In the 1970s and 1980s, there were general introductory books like Scientific Creationism and What is Creation Science? But that was then, and this is now. There are many areas of science that were not even contemplated then, but which we have to deal with today. The good news now is that some general introductory works have appeared which can be very helpful to many people seeking insights into the issues. Read the rest of this entry »
Where Did Purpose and Planning Come From?
While we may be aware of wonderful living creatures, we seldom reflect on the blessings of the material world. But the apostle Paul, way back in New Testament times in Lystra, assured his pagan audience that God provides favourable natural conditions to draw attention to himself. While God uses material blessings to draw attention to himself, some people wonder whether evolution can be included under the umbrella of God’s providential design. Since evolution is by definition a process that involves only matter and energy, then the evolutionary process can never involve foresight or design which are non-material. When we look at life however, we see features which demonstrate intelligent purpose and planning, thereby pointing to the work of God. Read the rest of this entry »
Beyond our Best Skills
Book Review – Inspiration from Creation: How engineers are copying God’s designs
Some years ago, I remember meeting a lady who was very excited at the realization that God is an artist! Similarly, I am very excited about a new book that portrays God as an amazing engineer. The lead author is engineer of exceptional experience and honours, yet he admits that mankind’s skills in engineering practical devices are woefully lacking compared to what we see in nature. Read the rest of this entry »Order Online
We Don’t Need a Big Bang!
Some people actually like numbers and mathematics, and some people don’t. Everybody knows that! Some people however sound positively lyrical on the subject of numbers. Dr. David Berlinsky, for example, in his book infinite ascent: a short history of mathematics (2005) describes the inexhaustible variety of natural numbers and their personalities. (Modern Library Paperback edition p. 5). He lists various demanding disciplines that mathematicians have developed. Beyond the practical and theoretical challenges that mathematics provides however are the insights into nature. As Dr. Kurt Wise pointed out in Faith, Form and Time (2002) “The universe seems to operate with mathematical precision, and natural laws have a mathematical form.” (p. 91) Astronomer Dr. Timothy Ferris elaborates on mathematics in his 1997 book The Whole Shebang: “[M]athematics [is] a codified form of logic that embodies the faith of science that nature works in a rational way.” He adds “Like all scientific theories, relativity is expressed in terms of mathematical equations-” Read the rest of this entry »
Insect Talents are Special
Biologists tell us that the ability to detect and identify odours is perhaps the most important sense that animals need to survive. By means of odour detection, insects locate food, avoid toxins and predators, and communicate with others of their own species. Their sense of smell is located mainly in their antennae.
One insect that is particularly talented in many respects, is none other than the famous fruit fly. For example, these red-eyed beauties exhibit extremely good abilities to find rotting fruit. Because fruit flies are easy to culture, biologists first studied odour detecting talents in these creatures. The study was expected to be interesting but scarcely earth-shattering. But guess what! Drosophila (fruit fly) was the tip of the iceberg to reveal that insects exhibit odour detecting abilities that are highly unusual and a major problem for evolutionary expectations. Since then similar studies have been conducted on moths, beetles, other flies, cockroaches and social insects. Read the rest of this entry »
Creation Through New Eyes
Creation Weekend 2018 October 26 & 27
The Creation Science Association of Alberta is excited that our featured speaker for Creation Weekend 2018 is Dr. Gordon Wilson of New St. Andrews College in Moscow, Idaho. Dr. Wilson’s enthusiasm for biology is infectious and the topics which he will present are ones that are very relevant to our lives as Christians today.
Coming Soon! Companion Study Guide to No Christian Silence on Science
Margaret Helder has developed a guide to enhance the learning opportunities and appreciation of the message in her book (which is to encourage everyone to critically evaluate scientific pronouncements). For each chapter there is a brief overview statement. Brief paragraphs follow for each subsection in each chapter with key concepts introduced. There follows for each chapter a list of questions, many of them involving the key concepts. The next section provides detailed answers for each question. A sure to be popular section follows on resources. These are provided under topical headings. Books, articles (all obtainable) and especially video clips on-line, are certain to be useful for any biological studies, not just for this book. Lastly for each chapter, a section on extension is provided. This booklet of about 60 pages, will be available on line (free download) and in hard copy. Inquire through our website for your copy as soon as it is available.
Book Review – Evolution’s Blunders, Frauds and Forgeries
A sign of the maturity of the creation science field is that books on a broader spectrum of topics have begun to appear. Excellent as titles are on such issues as dinosaurs and radiometric dating, it is nice to see some discussion of new issues. So it is then, that Dr. Jerry Bergman’s new book entitled Evolution’s Blunders, Frauds and Forgeries is certain to attract attention. Besides, the information contained therein is certainly fascinating.
Many of us have heard of the Piltdown Man fraud and the unmasking of that fraud which rocked the scientific world in 1953. However the story of how the events unfolded before that is very interesting. Since the deception was so obvious, it is a wonder that the scientific world allowed themselves to be deceived for more than 40 years. Similarly the 1922 ‘discovery’ of Nebraska Man which turned out to be an extinct pig, is also well known. However this book by Jerry Bergman also discusses many other astonishing examples of error or downright fraud. Read the rest of this entry »Order Online